Electronic devices increase knowledge, limit children's vision

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - While the access to cell phones, computers and video games can increase children's knowledge, it can also limit their vision.

"Thirty years ago we had a much lower rate of nearsightedness. It was at about 25 percent," said Hilltop Eyecare optometrist Dr. Jacob Moll. "Now, we're seeing a much larger percent of the population, about 41 percent of the population now is showing nearsightedness."

According to a report released by the National Eye Institute, nearsightedness, or myopia has increased by 66 percent since the 1970s.

Dr. Moll said genetics also play a big role in whether children are born with difficulty seeing far away. He believes more research needs to happen to pinpoint how much technology use contributes to children's poor eyesight.

"But right now they're pointing the finger at these electronic devices and not getting outside enough and not getting that distance focus," he said.

"What kid can you take away from their phone right? They're constantly playing games, texting," said Somer Woodruff, mom of an 11-year-old who wears glasses.

Farsighted Woodruff tries to limit her son Ben's time using technology and encourages him play outside.

Dr. Moll offers these tips to parents to monitor and limit children's use of electronic devices.
  • Begin scheduling annual optometrist appointments when your child is six months of age
  • For every 20 minutes the child uses an electronic device, schedule a 20-second break away from the device
  • Keep work and play areas are well lit
  • Make sure children spend time outside

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